Better for you if you …

Here is a small reflection on next Sunday’s Gospel (26th Sunday In Ordinary Time – B). Below is just a section of the text from Sunday’s Gospel.

“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mk 9:43-48)

Our Lord warns us to remove the sin from our lives or risk the fires of hell. Each one of us is not only called to live a moral life, but we are warned not to lead other poor souls astray by the choices we make. How many people, even active Catholics believe in the reality of hell. Hell is a dogma of the faith. Jesus taught clearly about a place of punishment for those who for one reason or another do not make it into the kingdom of God. Our Lord calls this place of punishment Gehenna. In the Jewish, Christian and Islamic scripture, Gehenna is that place where evil doers will be punished for all eternity. In Matthew 5:22, we read: “But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” Further on Matthew again quotes our Lord in regards to fear. Jesus said that we should not fear people that can hurt the body alone. “rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28) And of course there are many other places, both Old and New Testament that speak of punishment in a place called hell or Gehenna. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, attests to this belief. “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (CCC 1035).

If Jesus were to have related what we read in this Sunday’s Gospel, I wonder what He may say. He might say the following: “If your vote for a pro-abortion candidate causes you to sin, better for your to enter life (heaven) without your retirement fund, than to be thrown into hell with all the money in the world.” “If your election causes you to sin, better for you to remain faithful to Christ and His Church and loose the election, than to be case into hell with all your votes.”

I would pray that all of our Catholic politicians and faithful take this weekend’s Gospel seriously, for sure as “HELL” God does!

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